UK-Med are delighted to announce our involvement in the READY (Augmenting Capacity for Humanitarian Emergencies of Infectious Diseases with Epidemic or Pandemic Potential) project, funded for three years by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA). The consortium, led by Save the Children Federation, Inc., is tasked with strengthening capacity for response to major infectious disease outbreaks or pandemics and includes partners from Save the Children UK, The Johns Hopkins University Center for Humanitarian Health, The Johns Hopkins University Center for Communication Programs, MERCY Malaysia and EcoHealth Alliance.

Infectious disease emergencies have disastrous impacts on families, societies, systems, and economies. As seen in major outbreaks in recent years, the effects stretch beyond the lives tragically lost – health systems are unable to cope, schooling is disrupted and every day livelihoods are put at risk – which have extreme consequences for the poorest communities.

Major outbreaks – including Ebola in West Africa, Diphtheria in Bangladesh (which UK-Med responded to as part of the UK EMT) and Yemen and the current Ebola outbreak in DRC – have demonstrated the challenges faced by governments and the global humanitarian community in responding to these situations. UK-Med brings the experience of responding to previous outbreaks to the consortium.

Cath Nixon, who deployed through UK-Med as part of the UK Ebola response said “In 2014 I was one of the NHS volunteers that assisted with the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone with UK-Med. Although it was a stressful environment I felt privileged to have been a part of it and to have worked with such amazing international and national staff. We worked with different professionals from various backgrounds and were able to complement each other’s skills, working together through challenging times to reduce the mortality rate and improve standards of care. Ebola had devastating long lasting effects of the community. Many people lost all their family and many children were orphaned. Work in combating infectious diseases is so important.”

The READY consortium will strive to improve response to infectious disease outbreaks that become international humanitarian emergencies and prevent them from becoming global. Operational partners will develop standing capacity, so they are able to respond more quickly and effectively.

We are looking forward to being part of this project, ensuring there is a timely, effective and life-saving response to major infectious disease outbreaks or pandemics.

This news story is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the responsibility of UK-Med and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the U.S. Government. The U.S. Agency for International Development administers the U.S. foreign assistance program providing economic and humanitarian assistance in more than 80 countries worldwide.